Hong Kong property

Sun Hung Kai prepares for its biggest weekend sales with 328 Yuen Long apartments on offer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 8:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 11:08am

Hong Kong’s largest developer of residential property is poised for its busiest launch when it offers 328 apartment units for sale this weekend, responding to a vacancy tax aimed at stimulating supply to ease the city’s overwhelming need for housing.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) said it would start selling its Park Yoho Milano project on Saturday, almost two-thirds of the complex in Yuen Long in the New Territories, in a sale estimated at HK$2.8 billion (US$357 million).

Developers have been speeding up their sales of new projects since the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor last month unveiled a number of measures intended to bring more affordable housing to the city, including a tax on newly built homes standing empty, according to Centaline Property Agency.

“It’s rare for developers to sell 60 per cent of an entire project in one go,” said Centaline’s Asia-Pacific vice-chairman Louis Chan Wing-kit. “The project has received its occupation permit. It might be subject to the tax if it is not sold in one year.”

Some developers would offer sweeteners to speed up sales, Chan said. For instance, the developer would offer first-time buyers a first mortgage of up to 90 per cent of the sticker price, while property upgraders who already own a unit worth no less than 60 per cent of the purchase price qualify for a mortgage plan of up to 120 per cent.

Hong Kong’s five largest developers held as many as 4,791 completed - but unsold - apartment units between them as at June 30, according to Centaline’s estimates. The city government is trying to pry them loose for release into the market to ease the pent-up demand that has caused home prices to soar for 27 consecutive months. Of all the developers, SHKP is the largest hoarder, with as many as 2,656 units in stock, while Henderson Land Development has 1,227 units, Centaline said.

Henderson paid HK$1.445 billion for four 60-year-old buildings of seven storeys along Gillies Avenue South and Baker Street in Hung Hom, part of its plan to acquire 100 buildings in the area.

As a result of the vacancy tax announced in late June, as many as 3,900 finished apartments will be ready for sale by the end of 2018, according to a study by Midland Realty.

Park Yoho Milano reportedly had more than 4,200 potential buyers registered since it started registrations last Friday.

Despite the external factors that cloud the market, the sale will be fast under high pent-up demand, said Centaline’s regional sales director Eric Chan.

“The project is the cheapest in the market [among new projects] now at only about HK$14,000 per sq ft,” said Chan.

Discounted average prices for the second batch of 220 units were HK$14,580 per sq ft, about 6 per cent higher than the 108 units in the first batch that released last week.

One flat of 233 sq ft with a rooftop of 45 sq ft is being offered for HK$4.87 million per sq ft, or about HK$20,920 per sq ft, the highest among studio flats in the Kam Tin region nearby.

“The views and floors that flats in the second batch have are better,” said Victor Lui, deputy managing director at SHKP.